Paper No. 5-2
Presentation Time: 8:30 AM-4:30 PM
PERFORMANCE-BASED ASSESSMENTS: TOOLS FOR SUPPORTING GEOLOGICAL LITERACY
Geological literacy and the ability to understand/interpret geological data is critical in today’s society. This is especially important when individuals are confronted with data and claims that stem from popular media sources. Current initiatives in K-12 (NGSS Lead States, 2013) and undergraduate geoscience (e.g. Climate Literacy Network, 2009; ESLI, 2010) emphasize that students need the ability to transfer class-based understanding to larger public decision-making contexts (LaDue and Manning, 2015). Determining the extent to which instruction is supporting this transfer cannot be accomplished using traditional forms of assessment. Instead, performance-based assessments which require students to abstract larger themes in content and apply them to new scenarios are needed. Performance-based assessments need continuous attention in the Geoscience Education Research community if we are to align our assessments to standards documents in the community. Outside of assessment, recent research has begun to suggest that these forms of assessment can also double as tools that can also be used to support student learning in the classroom. This review talk will report on a systematic literature review of what we currently know about performance-based assessments and how they can be leveraged as tools for learning. Within this literature review, we will explore empirical evidence that focuses on how performance-based assessments can be used as tools for learning geological content, improving understanding of the nature of science, and fostering stronger motivation and engagement within our classrooms. Specific implications for geoscientists will also be discussed.